Author Jenny Block on Remaining Mindful During COVID-19

Houston-based author Jenny Block released her latest book “Be That Unicorn” this past February | Photo credit: Terri Glanger

During this time of uncertainty, artists and creators are working to bring joy and happiness into people’s lives. While it may seem that there is no end in sight for COVID-19 and government-ordered quarantine, those who are creating art want us to be conscious of how we are spending our time. Houston-based author Jenny Block insists that while we are in quarantine, we make more time for what makes us happy and distance ourselves from what doesn’t.

This past February, Block released Be That Unicorn, a book she describes as an “anti-self-help book.” She wrote the book within a course of a week and offers a realistic perspective on being honest and true to oneself.

“I always lead with kindness,” Block says. “But I always stand up for myself. I try to make the best of every situation. I walk away as best as I can from things that are not good for me. This is a book that I hope people will read and keep in their briefcase and on their nightstands.”

Block wrote Be That Unicorn with the purpose of reaching people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. She was inspired to write the book after multiple people told her that they feel “good and inspired” after talking to her.

After releasing the book, Block said that a friend of hers read it and felt inspired to leave her unhappy marriage. She also mentioned a friend of hers who read the book, applied for a job he wanted and ended up getting said job.

“I always say that you don’t need permission,” Block says. “But if you need someone to give you permission, I’m happy to be that person.”

During COVID-19, productivity has been a topic of discussion. Should people use this time to relax? Or should they remain as productive as possible?

“Not every hobby has to be a hustle,” Block says. “If you just like to paint, then that’s awesome. If you like to play Scrabble but you’re terrible at it, then that’s great. I want people to just be happy doing things.”

During this time, Block has been getting back into making crafts. She has been sewing stuffed animals and knitting sweaters for her dogs. She has also chosen to distance herself from things that don’t bring her joy.

“We have a full pantry and my wife is great about distracting me,” Block says , “from making sure we have all the things that we need, to keeping me from watching too much on the news.”

Another book of Block’s is called Open where she discusses being in an open marriage. Although she is no longer married to the spouse with whom she was in an open marriage, nor is she in an open marriage anymore, Block believes this is the time to get reacquainted with your primary partner.

If you are in a monogamous marriage or relationship, Block says this is the time to get reacquainted with your significant other. She recommends cooking dinner together, as well as other intimate, non-sexual activities.

“We should enjoy this time of ‘forced courting,’” Block says. “We’re so quick now. You meet on Tinder and you show up that night and sometimes, the relationship is over before it starts. I’m not suggesting that this is a great time for dating, but if you are in a relationship, this is a great time to reconnect with your partner.”

In order to slow the spread of coronavirus, restaurants, barbershops and salons across the country are closed for business. Grocery stores are running out of items like toilet paper, soap and hand sanitizer. Block says that while this pandemic is leading people to make drastic decisions, we shouldn’t make any big moves during this time.

“Don’t cut your bangs, don’t buy a bunch of stock and don’t shop for things you never would buy otherwise,” Block says. “Don’t stock up on Bitcoin or 10 million rolls of toilet paper. “I keep asking people ‘Who do you want to be when this is over?’ I don’t want to be the person that punch some old lady for toilet paper or was yelling at people on the internet. I want to be able to say, ‘Wow, that was nuts, but we survived.’”

UNT Alumnus | 26 | Lover of music, food, baseball, dogs and world cultures | Curator of incredibly dope playlists

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